"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, December 31, 2018

Links - 31st December 2018 (1)

Why self-identification should not legally make you a woman - "crime figures, both in the UK and US, suggest that transpeople are no more at risk of homicide or violent attack than the average person, and may in fact face a lower risk. But even if we take the comparisons at face value, it’s possible to also fund dedicated spaces and resources, specially for transwomen. There’s no reason why females should – as a sexist society regularly expects them to – be the only group to sacrifice their interests in favour of others."

Mapping the Americanization of English in space and time. - "American English is the dominant form of English outside the UK and that its influence is felt even within the UK borders"

The Corruption of Evidence Based Medicine — Killing for Profit - "Evidence based medicine is completely worthless if the evidence base is false or corrupted. It’s like building a wooden house knowing the wood is termite infested...
Selective Publication
Rigged outcomes
Advertorials
Reprint Revenues
Bribery of Journal Editors
Publication Bias
Financial Conflicts of Interests"

8 in 10 South Korean men used violence against girlfriends: Study - "According to a study conducted by the Korean Institute of Criminology, 1,593 out of 2,000 South Korean men, or 79.7 per cent, said they had abused a girlfriend during the dating period.About 71 per cent of those who admitted to a history of dating abuse said they had control over their girlfriends' activities, such as restricting them from meeting friends or keeping them isolated from others, including family members.Of these, 485 people said they regularly called to check who the partner was with. Others said they called until their girlfriends picked up the phone, or placed restrictions on how they dressed.Another 37.9 per cent of 1,593 respondents, or 603 men, said dating abuse involved sexual harassment, followed by psychological abuse (36.6 per cent), physical violence (22.4 per cent), sexual abuse (17.5 per cent) and inflicting injuries (8.7 per cent). In terms of psychological or emotional abuse, 23.1 per cent said they had slammed a door or stamped on the ground in anger when they were with their girlfriends. Among those who were physically violent with their partners, nearly 25 per cent said they had touched a partner's breasts, buttocks or genitals without agreement."
The definition of violence is very interesting
It looks like the Korean women weren't polled - perhaps a lot of this is really just Korean dating culture (e.g. psychological/emotional abuse)


Mongolia Live - Posts - "One of two known Kublai Khan passports reading: "I am the emissary of the Khan. If you defy me, you die.""

Why couples with daughters are more likely to divorce - "Researchers from Duke University in the US found female embryos are actually more hardy and robust while in the womb, and therefore more likely to survive if their mother experiences high stress levels during pregnancy, than male embryos. This results in more daughters than sons being born into already tense marriages."

Death threats at 'pick your own turkey' farm shop - "The words "Murder" and "Go vegan" have been spray-painted on the door at Greendale Farm Shop in Woodbury Salterton, Devon... He said they had also received "very strange" phone calls. One person reportedly called and asked the butcher: "How would you like it if I cut you up and put you on the counter?" Another caller is said to have shouted obscenities, before saying: "You should be the ones being killed because your life is worth less than that of the innocent animals which you are murdering""
Militant veganism

Do Violent Video Games Make Kids More Violent? - "a group of 230 scholars from universities across the globe published an open letter in 2013 calling the APA’s stance of violent video games “misleading and alarmist.” And many of those same scholars spoke out after the 2015 policy statement. Last summer, a division within the APA focused on the media published their own statement advising government officials and the news media to avoid attributing acts of violence to video games or other violent media...
A recent analysis finds that research on video games is prone to false positives and false negatives, which leads to faulty conclusions"

Why Countries Are Turning Against China's Belt and Road - "Many Chinese complain of the initiative’s wasteful spending. Internationally, some of the backlash is geopolitical, as countries grow wary of Beijing’s growing influence. But much of it is simply political. Unlike Western lenders, China does not require its partners to meet stringent conditions related to corruption, human rights, or financial sustainability. This no-strings approach to investment has fueled corruption while allowing governments to burden their countries with unpayable debts. And citizens of many BRI countries have reacted with anger toward China—an anger that is now making itself felt in elections. Far from expanding Chinese soft power, the BRI appears to be achieving the opposite... the Zambian think tank scholar Trevor Simumba warned that Zambia’s borrowing from China was rapidly becoming unsustainable and expressed concern about the “severe lack of transparency over many key terms” in the loans. These countries are beginning to worry not just about the costs of BRI projects, such as Uganda’s recent highway expansion—in which governments borrow Chinese money to pay Chinese companies to build infrastructure at above-market prices—but about the sustainability of their country’s debt loads and the supposed beneficence of Chinese investment. How did China’s big soft power investment end up alienating the very countries it was supposed to help? One reason is that countries have become wiser to the financial terms associated with BRI. In the early stages of the initiative, many countries perceived Chinese capital as free—or least low-cost—money. In reality, China often lent above market rates from concessional lenders, such as the World Bank, that had slowed lending because of their concerns about rising debt levels... countries have worried about the possible ramifications of failing to repay Beijing. They have also become frustrated with the lack of due diligence on the part of local governments and with China’s heavy-handed insistence on single-bid contracts, which force countries to partner with Chinese firms, and sovereign guarantees, which shift risk onto partner countries rather than Chinese firms. One of BRI’s primary weaknesses was its early selling point: China’s famed no-strings approach to partner governments. Developing countries had long griped about the difficulty of getting projects approved and funded by major Western lenders—including the IMF, the World Bank, and bilateral development agencies like USAID—due to safeguards such as financial sustainability requirements, environmental assessment reports, and anticorruption controls. BRI offered a way around these requirements. But the requirements existed for a reason: Western donor agencies had attached them over time, based on experience, in order to lower the risk of failure. By contrast, China’s refusal to require reasonable safeguards for its BRI projects has nourished authoritarianism, corruption, debt, and the pursuit of economically unsustainable or nonviable projects... Since the beginning of BRI, Beijing has preferred to view criticism as nothing more than Western refusal to accept China’s rise. Today, however, the concerns are coming not from the West but from Africa and Asia, where governments are desperate to head off soaring debt problems and the wrath of their people"
Maybe China lovers will say it's all a conspiracy against China and they should thank China for being willing to lend irresponsibly

China’s brightest children are being recruited to develop AI ‘killer bots’ - "The 27 boys and four girls, all aged 18 and under, were selected for the four-year “experimental programme for intelligent weapons systems” at the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) from more than 5,000 candidates, the school said on its website."

Enemies at the Gates | Foreign Affairs - "What is the most important article of clothing for an ambassador? Is it white tails, for state weddings and funerals? Perhaps black tails, for formal dances and banquets? Maybe even an ordinary business suit for ministry calls? In fact, the answer was pajamas and a bathrobe. Simply put, most every ambassador eventually finds himself or herself managing a crisis from the ambassador's residence at 3 AM. Best to have some good PJs and a respectable robe on hand... The security team could not even notify the entire embassy about the situation, due to the "no double standard" rule. This rule, which the State Department imposed after the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, mandated that any terrorist threat that the State Department shared with the community of U.S. officials also had to be shared with the American public. To avoid violating that rule and tipping off enemies, I could discuss the threat only with the team responsible for countering it."

Why Sun Tzu Isn't Working for China Anymore - "The Party is beginning to encounter an international backlash against its strategy and methods, at the same time as it faces rising discontent with its authoritarian ways at home. Once again, the Party’s domestic legitimacy is at stake. The downsides of the Warring States paradigm are beginning to outweigh the benefits... China's military ambitions along its maritime periphery can no longer be disguised. For years Beijing has stated, in international forums, that its programs for building bases in the South China Sea, claims in the East China Sea, and power projection into the Western Pacific are an innocuous adjunct to the country's "peaceful rise." The narrative for domestic audiences in China, however, has been somewhat darker—a promise to monopolize marine resources for the homeland, to repel the "aggressive" presence of America in the region, and to wrest the strategically important East China Sea islets from Japanese control. Above all, the mission has been—and remains—to encircle and ultimately annex Taiwan, holding the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at bay for long enough to create a fait accompli. Alarmed by China's increasingly predatory posture, the countries of the region have discovered and begun cementing their common interest in working together for security and stability. States as diverse as Vietnam, Japan, Australia, and India have entered into strategic partnerships to counter intimidation by China. The United States too has rediscovered its strategic interest in countering China's disruption and asserting itself in the region"

Michael Avenatti arrested for felony domestic violence - "Michael Avenatti, the lawyer famous for representing porn star Stormy Daniels, has been arrested for felony domestic violence... Avenatti, who has repeatedly argued with Trump on Twitter and markets himself as an ally to abused women, became famous for representing Stormy Daniels in her legal battle with the president and had been parlaying his newfound fame into a career in politics. He was reportedly even considering a run for president in 2020"
Another male feminist
"Believe all women"


Prof: Nobody in GOP ‘more than three handshakes away from a Nazi’ - "Angus Johnston, a professor at Hostos Community College, part of the City University of New York, made the statement in a response to recent reports that Republican Kris Kobach, who President Donald Trump endorsed for Kansas governor accepted donations from white nationalists... Johnston expressed delight earlier in 2018 when neighboring Democrats did not offer financial help to the Lincoln, Nebr. GOP office after vandals threw bricks through the office windows, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported. He called this lack of action “the most hopeful sign [he’d] seen in months.”"
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